NASA reported first results from L1 at the 2015 AGU Fall conference. The view from a million miles is amazing. Eli has been following this saga, well from longer than the "pause", and actually since before there was an Eli. Monday was a press conference, Wednesday was a lap of honor for Al Gore and NASA. Monday (video) and Wednesday last week were fine days in the sun.
This was a blessed mission. Launch and orbital insertion went perfectly. DSCOVR (the politically correct name for Triana aka Goresat) ended up on station with enough fuel to last until 2029 and the platform is considerably more stable than spec. The plan was to have enough fuel to last 5 years. One problem may be that the earth observing mission was set up for two years. A usual problem with NASA satellites is that they last forever, or at least a lot longer than originally paid for. The EPIC camera is operating close to if not at theoretical with a resolution of 35 km at the Earth's surface. The solar array is putting out 600 W, twice the required 300 W.
EPIC is discovering things about aerosols and clouds that were not envisioned before launch such as tracking ships "contrails". It will measure ozone profiles down to the surface, cloud height, UV reflectivity and vegatation cover.
The NISTAR radiometer has four channels. At the news conference most of the talk was about the simplest one, the photodiode which measures total reflectivity in the UV/VIS/NIR out to ~1.1 microns (the band gap for silicon detectors). Not much was said about the other three channels, Band A the total radiation channel out to 100 microns, Band B which monitors the total solar light reflected from the earth (albedo) and Band C which captures the NIR solar reflected out to 4 microns.
Eli left out a considerable detail which bunnies can get from the video.
A while ago, Gavin Schmidt pointed out that to really measure the total emission from the Earth required a second DSCOVR on the other side at L2. Wouldn't you know it, but somebunny at 35.30 asked that and by the way what is going on with Band A, the total emission channel This, shall Eli say, resulted in a rather you answer that looking at each other among the panel, until Steve Lorentz picked up the ball.
With regard to a twin satellite, Lorentz who is a contractor, not NASA, and yes, he would be in favor
Well to the second one I would certainly entertain the possibility of trying to fly future missions of this type, but i am not the one who writes the checks for that.There then ensued a couple of minutes of audio visual follies hunting for the back up slide which had not been shown. Good news was that the Band A, B and C detectors are working,anddetectors can tell the difference between pointing at the earth and pointing at space. Noise in Band A and B are well below the design goal of 1.5%. Have to wait for next year for more
Which brings us to the Wednesday Gorefest. (Video here, but there may be hoops to jump through. Ah yes, go here first and register, no fees or anything required, then follow the bunny trail)
Al Gore was quite generous in describing the hoops that DSCOVR went through before launch. He still had his vision fixed on view from a million miles which all the Kool Kidz scoff at and please, this time in HD.
Adam Szabo, project scientist and chief of the heliospheric physics lab at Goddard Space Flight Center went a lot further. He wants a second satellite at L1 with improved instrumentation including a spectrometer and an order of magnitude better set of radiometers AND a twin at L2.
Stuart (Whole Earth Catalog) Brand also plugged for DSCOVR L2, about the science and the awe that could be done from there.
So, Eli asks, why was the news conference so reticent or were they trying to cut somebunny off? Only Gavin knows:) but still, no bunny is cutting checks.